emo·​tion | \ i-ˈmō-shən How to pronounce emotion (audio) \

Definition of emotion

1a : a conscious mental reaction (such as anger or fear) subjectively experienced as strong feeling usually directed toward a specific object and typically accompanied by physiological and behavioral changes in the body
b : a state of feeling
c : the affective aspect of consciousness : feeling
2a : excitement
b obsolete : disturbance

Synonyms for emotion


Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Choose the Right Synonym for emotion

feeling, emotion, affection, sentiment, passion mean a subjective response to a person, thing, or situation. feeling denotes any partly mental, partly physical response marked by pleasure, pain, attraction, or repulsion; it may suggest the mere existence of a response but imply nothing about the nature or intensity of it. the feelings that once moved me are gone emotion carries a strong implication of excitement or agitation but, like feeling, encompasses both positive and negative responses. the drama portrays the emotions of adolescence affection applies to feelings that are also inclinations or likings. a memoir of childhood filled with affection for her family sentiment often implies an emotion inspired by an idea. her feminist sentiments are well known passion suggests a very powerful or controlling emotion. revenge became his ruling passion

Examples of emotion in a Sentence

a display of raw emotion The defendant showed no emotion when the verdict was read. She was overcome with emotion at the news of her friend's death.
Recent Examples on the Web Knowing from that experience what Cruise would respond to, Kosinski focused his pitch to the actor on character and emotion. Jake Coyle, ajc, 23 May 2022 The scene, like the auditions, is stuffed with drama and emotion. Lovia Gyarkye, The Hollywood Reporter, 22 May 2022 The art of decision making includes a combination of emotion and logic. Expert Panel®, Forbes, 19 May 2022 Every good idea, Mr. Carter said, starts with human emotion and understanding one another’s problems. Anne Steele, WSJ, 18 May 2022 Quentin wiped tears from his eyes, from smoke or emotion or both. New York Times, 18 May 2022 Without intention, a piece of medium-density fiberboard is just another cheap material, considered undesirable by most furniture makers — but with energy and emotion behind it, this piece of faux wood becomes a Ryan Preciado original. Julissa Jamesstaff Writer, Los Angeles Times, 18 May 2022 Although this classic bildungsroman may have been nipped and tucked in the transition from page to screen, in terms of scale and sweep and emotion, little appears to have been lost in translation. Jessica Kiang, Variety, 18 May 2022 Things became even more nuanced and complicated when the director, crew, and stars of the film realized that one of their primary shoot locations would be another source of conflicting emotion. Essence, 16 May 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'emotion.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of emotion

1579, in the meaning defined at sense 2b

History and Etymology for emotion

Middle French, from emouvoir to stir up, from Old French esmovoir, from Latin emovēre to remove, displace, from e- + movēre to move

Buying Guide

Our Reviews team has selected the best potato head toys.

Learn More About emotion

Time Traveler for emotion

Time Traveler

The first known use of emotion was in 1579

See more words from the same year

Dictionary Entries Near emotion




See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for emotion

Last Updated

27 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Emotion.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/emotion. Accessed 28 May. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More Definitions for emotion


emo·​tion | \ i-ˈmō-shən How to pronounce emotion (audio) \

Kids Definition of emotion

: strong feeling (as anger, love, joy, or fear) often accompanied by a physical reaction She flushed with emotion.


emo·​tion | \ i-ˈmō-shən How to pronounce emotion (audio) \

Medical Definition of emotion

1 : the affective aspect of consciousness
2 : a state of feeling
3 : a conscious mental reaction (as anger or fear) subjectively experienced as strong feeling usually directed toward a specific object and typically accompanied by physiological and behavioral changes in the body — compare affect

Other Words from emotion

emotional \ -​shnəl, -​shən-​ᵊl How to pronounce emotion (audio) \ adjective
emotionality \ -​ˌmō-​shə-​ˈnal-​ət-​ē How to pronounce emotion (audio) \ noun, plural emotionalities
emotionally \ -​ˈmō-​shnə-​lē, -​shən-​ᵊl-​ē How to pronounce emotion (audio) \ adverb

More from Merriam-Webster on emotion

Nglish: Translation of emotion for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of emotion for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about emotion


Test Your Vocabulary

Name That Food

  • a-light
  • Name these cookies!
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!